The Walking Shame

Being a single gal in the city is tough, especially in the middle of a zombie apocalypse

Colette stretched naked by One Night Stand’s bedside—futonside, actually—while he snored obliviously, dangerously.

Time to do “The Walk Of Shame”—a sexist, antiquated term even before the Morning After of all morning afters—the catastrophic incident that had rendered all of New York City into a zombie wasteland, a buffet of body parts. 

Colette found that she actually enjoyed putting back on her clothes again after taking them off: she hadn’t only been wearing that outfit the previous night, but for the past three months, ever since The Gentrification. She pretended she was shopping, trying it on in a fitting room and wearing it out for the first time, though it wreaked of stale Chloe perfume from Sephora and the fresher flesh of murdered friends whose lives she’d tried in vain to save.

“You’re welcome to stay,” said One Night Stand suddenly, stirring but not lifting his head from his pillow. “But I can’t promise I won’t wake up in the middle of the night and attack you with a baseball bat, thinking that you’re a zombie!” His “joke” had the ring of a line he’d say before, and would say again, provided he lived long enough to find another sexual partner. His buzz saw snoring was practically a siren calling out, “Zombies, come eat me!”

At least someone in his bed would finally get eaten.

Not knowing when to shut up—NOW—One Night Stand dug in deeper. “Actually, you’re probably much safer going to Greenpoint—even zombies don’t want to go that far out to the boroughs!”

Really, player? Sigh. Whatever. He’d served his purpose, although it was annoying the way every average guy in NYC acted like he was Jason Momoa in a women’s prison just because he wasn’t a zombie yet. And just because you’re good at playing Red Dead Redemption doesn’t make you my bodyguard, you condescending prick! But still, he had used her; she too, had used him. In the Z Economy, if you can’t be used, you’re useless. She’d accepted his implication-laden invitation back to his panic room for a stiff one and a stiff one (no zombie!) because his promise of moonshine mimosas made her nostalgic, embarrassingly, for Sex and the City, the show that first beckoned her to the Big Apple when she watched it as a teen. A nostalgia rendered all the more poignant by rumors of Sarah Jessica Parker’s valiant death at the hands of zombie paparazzi in the West Village, defending her children. So brave! No nanny! Colette poured out a little of her moonshine mimosa for the actress who played Carrie Bradshaw. RIP, SJP.

Sexploitation had run rampant since The Gentrification. Zombies and bed bugs weren’t the only parasites in town. People offered sex for shelter on Craig’s List, and couples who had been on one Tinder date together were shacking up, their domestication hyper-accelerated because of dwindling real estate options. But Colette had just wanted to have sex so she could feel alive again—or at least, not undead.  Although, she had needed an electrical outlet to charge her iPhone…

“Can you wash out that condom?” asked One Night Stand. “I might use it again.”

No. Gross. Time to go.

As she rooted around his kitchen, he accusingly barked, “Don’t be trying to steal my food—I haven’t got anything.”

What happened to taking a dame out for brunch the next day? In these times, gals were considered lucky if they weren’t on the menu for zombie brunch. But wait—was this a burnt Pop Tart stuck in his toaster? Sweet! Colette plucked it out and bit into it, defiantly, deliciously.

She checked the survival supplies in her Balenciaga bag, a functional luxury that the Canal Street vendor insisted was authentic, claiming that he’d looted it himself from the flagship store on Day 3 of The Gentfrication.

The contents: A keychain with mace spray attached, a gift from her Midwestern father intended to protect her from the big, bad city—although it might as well have been breath spray to the frenzied-feeders of The Gentrification.

A mango White Claw.

A makeshift dildo she made by melting a hairbrush over a trashcan fire. Don’t judge.

Collette put on her high heels, which seemed impractical, but were in fact, quite tactical. First off, for all of the horrors they offered, zombies weren’t very fast on their feet—she’d run in heels to catch the cross-town bus during her three years of interning to outpace even the fastest shufflers. Secondly, she was walking on weapons, her stilettos sharpened like jugular-cutting Ginsus. No, they weren’t Louboutins—but the bottoms were. Like the poet said, “These is bloody shoes (sic).”

Colette pulled her iPhone and charger from the wall and shut One Night Stand’s apartment door.

Don’t call me, I won’t call you.


Colette hit the street, weighing her equally undesirable travel options. The subways hadn’t been running in months, Uber’s Purge pricing was ridiculous, so she decided to walk—even it meant walking amongst the Walkers. 

Speed-strutting past turned-over food carts and abandoned bodegas, it was a decision she regretted almost immediately, when she saw a horde of hipster zombies (though they’d never refer to themselves as such) following her laconically. Holy crap—was that!? No, it couldn’t be. Oh, but of course she’d run into HIM when she wasn’t wearing any makeup. 

His flesh was rotten (a diet of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Marlboro Reds didn’t help)  but his hair was still as artfully disheveled as ever, and he was wearing his trademark (and many others’ trademark) double-denim, jean tuxedo.

It was her ex-boyfriend Jake, now a zombie. But hey, at least he finally got off the couch! She supposed she should be more sensitive to his predicament in the wake of the #ZToo movement, but he made it so difficult. She checked her mirror in her purse and wondered if, in his mutated form, Jake could still tell that she’d just had sex. She hoped so.

“Blehhh!” snarled Jake. He often had difficulty articulating his feelings. Was he saying he wanted her back?

As he bared his incisors, it was apparent that, once again, Jake was relying on Colette for his next meal. Typical.

“Dude, you’re killing me!” she said aloud. “On second thought, I’m killing you!” 

She threw her dildo through his undead head, his brain splattering orgasmically on the concrete sidewalk. Money-shot. Hit the road, Jake! He was always was an open wound, that emo bastard.

The rest of the hipster zombies played it cool, ineffectual poseurs still. Perhaps, in her battle-worn state, Colette looked hungover and exhausted enough that they mistakenly but understandably assumed she was one of them.

She was safe, for now. She picked her brain-soaked shoe off the ground and continued her stumble. Yawn of the dead! She was beat, but not defeated. Colette just wanted to get home, wherever that was.

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